Despite tone, DTC ads are ‘useful’, Wyeth’s Essner says

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Wyeth's chief executive Robert Essner said that although he does not like the tone of some DTC advertising, the method is helpful in educating consumers about certain medical conditions.
"I think, overall, direct-to-consumer advertising is useful. I think it alerts patients to the possibility that treatment is available for them. When it encourages them to see their doctor, it works in everybody's interest." Essner said in an interview appearing in today's edition of USA Today.
Essner added, "I don't like the tone of some of the ads, but I think giving consumers as much information as possible about the choices that they can make with their doctor is a very good thing for the health care system." In 2004, Wyeth ranked 13 among the top 20 companies by DTC spending, with $79.3 million spent, according to TNS Intelligence.
Essner made the comments during an interview discussing recent company growth following Wyeth's posting of a 44 percent gain in first-quarter net income last month.
 "Some of our major brands, like Effexor, an antidepressant, and Protonix (for heartburn), continue to grow." Essner said. "There was outstanding growth from Enbrel, a remarkable drug for rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. Prevnar, our pneumococcal vaccine, is also doing well and was the first vaccine ever to top the $1 billion mark in annual sales last year. Rapamune, our drug for organ transplantation, is doing well. And we're hoping an important drug called Tygacil, which is a new kind of antibiotic, will add to our growth in the second half."

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